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Antique Stoves

Updated on January 1, 2014

Brands and Parts

It's a well known fact that "they don't make em like they used to" and this statement has never been truer than in the case of antique stoves. It's unquestionable that improvements have been made when it comes to home appliances and the technology that has evolved, however antique stoves bring a certain elegance, warmth and style to the homes they grace. The question is, is it worth investing in restoring these beautiful, hardworking stoves?

Crawford

Crawford Antique stoves were made by the Walker and Pratt Manufacturing Company, founded originally in 1855 by Miles Pratt. The original foundry was on Main Street in Boston, and became Walker and Pratt when it consolidated with George Walker Co. Initial contracts were for union cannonballs. Soon the thriving company was making canister shot, shells, and gun carriages too. When the foundry was not needed for Union arms they made Crawford stoves.

Crawford stoves can be found in a number of styles. There are both parlor styled cooking stoves and potbelly heating stoves that were made by this company. You can find wood, coal, and combination fuel stoves. Some of the later models, like those from between WWI and WWII have a very sleek deco design, and use both gas and coal or wood. Earlier version going back to the civil war are more ornate and often times very, very grand.

Between 1900 and 1920 there were a set of parlor stoves made that were labeled “modern”. These stoves feature cleaner lines then the Victorian stoves, but are not as sleek at the later versions. These parlor stoves function as heaters, but also have hidden cook plates under the hinged top.

Many of the restored stoves that have survived date from this time period, like the Fortress (which is a pre-WWI style), the Village Royal, the Jubilee, the Fairy, and the Century. All of these are cooking stoves of various sizes. Some are dual coal/wood stoves and all the later models can be fitted to use gas on at least two of the burners. One of the rarest of all Crawford's are the “Triple”. These were made for the elite, and come with either a single or a double oven. Dating to 1917, these very large stoves are not commonly seen.

Beckwith

P.D Beckwith made stoves under the Round Oak Stove company label. The first stove was made in 1867. These were used to heat the foundry but upon incorporation on 1871 it was not long until the stoves were the main focus. The first one was sold in 1872. The Round Oak Stove company employed half the male population of Dowagiac Michigan and was in business for nearly eighty years.

Over five million stoves sold before the company closed in 1947. Many of these were used by Michigan Central Rail to heat the depots between Detroit and Chicago. Most of these are a cylinder styled heating stove. Once known as the finest heating stove money could buy, by the 1910s these stoves were widespread and well known. The company was renamed The Estate of P.D. Beckwith Incorporated after the founder's death in 1889. The later stoves feature this mark along with Round Oak and include some cooking stove styles. There are also some cooking stoves made by this company.

The Round Oak Stove is one a heavy duty heating stove. Made for heating a huge space, they can be found in farms, homes, and stores nationwide. These stoves came in six sizes, uniform in nearly every way, although hand crafted. The smallest size is the #12. The number refers to the size of the firepot. The best way to key down which Round Oak stove you have is to consult the Museum - Guide to Identification of Round Oak Heating Stoves through Southwestern Michigan College.

The rarest of these stoves is the exclusive Katelee Round Oak stove, of which three are known to have survived. This stove dates to 1898-1899. It was named for the founder's daughter Katie Beckwith. One can be viewed at the History Gallery at Southwestern Michigan College, Dowagiac, Michigan.

Bruno

Stoves are typically used solely for cooking, but nowadays, with large contemporary antique stoves like Bruno, such stoves can be used to heat up any room. Bruno antique stoves are wood burning stoves, and they have large, curved heat convection tubes that help in distributing heat quickly and evenly in a room.

There are two ranges of Bruno stoves; the T range and Turbo range. The stoves in T range are designed with large fireboxes that are capable of burning large logs. The T14 model can accommodate logs that are up to 1000mm, which is way longer than regular logs.

These stoves come with a flue boiler that provides extra heat output that can supplement the existing heating system in your home. The flue boiler also supplies hot water for bathing, and other household purposes. However, with a flue boiler, you will need to make sure that the wood you use for burning is well seasoned. This is because burning unseasoned wood can cause high level of air particles, which can be dangerous. It can be done using a moisture meter.

In addition to that, each Bruno T stove comes with an optional cook top. The cook top is large enough to accommodate a number of large pots at the same time, which is great for preparing large feasts for occasions such as family gatherings. The Bruno Turbo range stoves are even larger than the T range stoves, and can warm up the largest of workshops.

These industrial Bruno stoves look unique and yet elegant, and they certainly make excellent centerpieces, particularly in a large room. Each Bruno stove comes with jet black heat convection tubes and a patterned laser cut stainless steel casing. With heating capacity from 100 to 1000 cubic meters, they are also great for large barn conversions and hunting cabins. However, the Bruno stoves are not suitable for burning sawdust.

Chambers

Chambers is one of the leading brands of stoves in America. Chambers stoves have been popular since early 20th century. Even though Chambers faces competition from other brands, it has recently regained popularity since TV personalities such as Rachael Ray cooks using one on her cooking show.

John E. Chambers designed the first Chambers stove in 1910. It was named the Chambers Fireless Gas Range. Two years later, he established the Chambers Company in Shelbyville, Indiana. The company remained in the Chambers family until 1950. The Chambers brand is currently owned by Thor Appliance Company since 2003.

Chambers stoves are designed with many notable features. Although not all models have the same characteristics, all of the Chambers antique stoves feature a patented insulation technology that allows continuous cooking even after the gas is shut off. Each Chambers stove come with rock wool as insulation that prevents loss of heat, and their walls are three layers thick.

Other great features of the Chambers stoves include thermobaker inserts for baking small portions, and childproof thumb-latch handles for extra safety. They also come with broilers and griddles, built-in lamps, basket style oven racks, mechanical timer, and chrome-plated cooktop. Chambers stoves are made with full porcelain finishes, giving them the vintage look.

There are various models of Chambers stoves, but from 1940 to 1960, the C series were the most commonly manufactured. Then, there were also the B and A series. There was also the Martha Washington stove models, which have become collectors' items, even though they are large and bulky.

Nowadays, many older models of Chambers stoves have been restored and sold in stores and online. Despite being regarded as vintage and antique, these Chambers stoves are very nostalgic and many homeowners are seeking to purchase them because they remind them of their childhood memories.

Franklin

Named for its inventor, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin stove is distinct in its design and functionality. He invented this masterpiece in 1741. It featured a hollow baffle that transferred more heat to the room and also relied on the inverted siphon. This would draw the fumes around the baffle and remove them from the air through a flue.

In his original design, there was a hollow baffle towards the rear of the stove. It was wide, but was constructed of thin cast iron. It was open to the room on its sides and on the bottom as well as near the top. As air entered the bottom, it was heated by the fumes flowing around the box and by the fire. It exited through the holes in the sides. The baffles succeeded in extracting a larger amount of feat from the fire and the fumes. This use of baffles was not a new concept. In 1619 a stove featured as a wood-saver was invented by Franz Keslar in Germany.

In 1744 Franklin finished his design. At that time he also wrote as pamphlet which described in detail the workings of the stove. This was used as his publicity attempt to sell the stove. The governor of Pennsylvania offered to patent the design. Franklin never patented his designs or his inventions. His theory was to share what he made freely and generously with the people. Due to the lack of patent, many other inventors took the original design and made improvements. Many of the new designs became available for cooking as well as heating. The main purpose of Franklin's original invention was heating a room, but the changes and improvements added to its value and usefulness.

Atlanta Stove Works

Who were Atlanta Stove Works? Now and then a business starts, succeeds, and fails. Little is left of its history except the excellent products it made. Such is the case of the Atlanta Stove Works, who made the Perdue Delight wood burning stove. It has six burners and a top warmer. There also is a drawer for the ashes, which the user can pull out when it needs emptied.

Another woodstove is the 1889 Conestoga #40, a small cast iron wood and coal burning stove. Owners are delighted with the warmth, and add they make attractive antique decorations. A Huntsman Model #241C wood burning stove had fire bricks on the inside of the stove.

Atlanta Stove Works contracted for cast iron cookware from Birmingham Stove Works. Some were manufactured under the name "Century." Several stories exist about Atlanta Stove Works' demise. One says Birmingham Stove & Range (BS&R), formerly Birmingham Stove Works, took it over in 1988. The other says that Martin Industries, Inc., out of Florence, AL, purchased the wood and gas divisions of Atlanta Stove, one of its biggest competitors. Both are possible, as some of the product lines were believed to have been sold to other manufacturers around that time.

At any rate, Martin Industries ended up as owner and moved Atlanta Stove's manufacturing to factories in Athens and Huntsville. About sixty-five per cent of Martin Industries, Inc.'s sales come from home heating products. Brand names of those products include Atlanta Stove, Prime Heat, Martin Gas Products, and Hunter, among others.

Atlanta Stove Works' building sat empty until 1994, when it became a brewery for the Marthasville Brewing Co., an Atlanta-based business started by Michael Gerard, from Australia. Things started out fine for that business, but things did not work out and it closed in 1997.

Welch & Son

Throughout the years, antique stoves have been created in just about every shape and style and utilizing a variety of materials. Antique wood burning stoves of the past had been crafted from earthenware tiles, frequently attractively embellished, often constructed within the palaces of old in central Europe during the Middle Ages. The creation of ceramic stoves were continued to be built into the current century, normally together with the firebox constructed of iron, through which hot gases could be ducted about the insides of the ceramic tiles. An excellent advantage of ceramic stoves are their ability to absorb and retain heat, delivering it into the room over extended periods of time. Early day antique ceramic stoves tend to be rare because they were usually built into homes, palaces and businesses.

When cast iron emerged, it was seen as the ideal material to use for antique stoves due to that fact that it is strong and has the capability to manage elevated temperature ranges without creating damage to the stove. It is also both a great producer of heat and an excellent material for radiating the heat. On top of that, experienced design craftspeople have the ability to create and embellish the stoves making them as gorgeous and elaborate as the owner desires.

Alternative materials like copper and brass were used for the stove's knobs and oven doors plus nickel came into common use regarding plating elements of the stoves. Toward the end of the 19th century color made an appearance with the fashioning of enamel finished cast iron stoves. Most antique French stoves are enabled.

Some common manufacturer names of antique stoves are Universal, Welch and Sons. Antique stoves bring a warmth and uniqueness to any home and create an amazing focal point to any room.

Roper

The Roper Corporation was founded in 1874. Quality, style, and good customer service vaulted Roper towards the front of the most successful appliance dealers' list. The Town and Country, one of Roper's most popular vintage stoves, was built with an exterior porcelain cabinet. Not only was the Town and Country a luxury item, it signified that there was room in one's home for such a generous-sized stove.

The late 1940s saw the Town and Country grow in size. Just imagine this forest green, 60-inch giant in today's built-in appliance kitchen: eight burners, one roasting and two baking ovens, an 18-inch griddle top center, and three broilers. A "smaller" Roper stove from 1949 was 40-inches wide. Six burners each featured a simmer cone. There were two full ovens. Each had a broiler underneath. Built-in features included salt and pepper shakers and a timer. Some Roper stoves also had round oven glass in the door to see through, rather than the traditional square on other makes.

To make a long story short, General Electric (G.E.) and Whirlpool got into a vicious bidding war to purchase the highly successful Roper Corporation in the late 1980. The two hashed out a deal and purchased Roper, giving G.E. the company, and rights to the lawn equipment and stoves manufacturing. Whirlpool acquired the Roper brand name, and received gas and electric ranges from G.E. for the Roper brand. That gave GE access to Roper manufacturing facilities and to retailer Sears, Roebuck.

Whirlpool will check with their distributor for parts for older Roper stoves. Antique Roper stoves can also be purchased from collectors. Some of the stoves will need restoration. Usually it is better to check online with antique appliance collectors, who can also recommend a credible restoration or repair specialist.

Wedgewood

To those who are antique collectors, the Wedgewood name often calls to mind the images of traditional British China and delicate hand painted designs. The "other" Wedgewood brand, not as well known, but every bit as well crafted, is the creator of stoves which were manufactured in American, but did make their way overseas with emmigrants, so may be found elsewhere as well.

James Graham, a native of California, began the production of wood stoves for use in the United States about 1882 and continued in production for many years. In 1902, the original maker passed away, leaving the business to his children who began production of a line of stoves they called the Wedgewood stove. These stoves are highly sought after collectors items today and may command a striking price to purchase.

In order to readily identify your Wedgewood stove, you may seek out several methods to prove the stove is genuine. There will be a small tin plate that is attached to the back, upper portion of your stove. The stove door will also offer you another clue to authenticity with a name and a date on the clock area. You will find the numbers printed in minuscule numbers on the bottom portion of the border of the dial of your clock.

In many cases, paper labels were also included, although time may have eroded these, but they will be printed with the words. James Graham Foundry. Once you or an expert have authenticated your stove your next step should be to insure your property with some type of antique insurance.

Montgomery Ward

Aaron Montgomery Ward, a traveling salesman in rural areas, picked up on the injustice of overcharging those who did not get into the city for shopping. He created the world's first mail order business in 1872, offering quality goods at affordable prices. Rural retailers opposed the competition, sometimes burning his catalogue. A short venture with selling ready-to-assemble homes lasted through the 1920s and early into the 1930s. The depression caused a lot of defaults on notes, which Wards carried, as did Sears-Roebuck. That part of the business was ended.

Problems with the Federal Government during WW II were resolved, but the store failed to expand to the suburbs in the 1950s. A merger in the early 1970s with Container Corp of America was ineffective, and Mobile Oil acquired the company in 1976. Going private in 1988, things continued to slide, until all retail operations were closed in 2001.

Most stoves sold by Wards were manufactured by other home appliance companies, producing the four-burner stove with oven. Perry Stove built some, but went into a slump and was sold to Henry Wetter in 1889. An antique coal-wood cook stove, with a tank for heating water, was likely built by Wetter Mfg. for Montgomery Ward during the period of 1890 - 1926. Wetter Mfg. faltered and sold to U.S, Stove in 1937, with Leonard Rogers at the helm. He contracted with Sears, Wards, and other independent stores, manufacturing coal and wood heating stoves and kitchen ranges.

A Montgomery Ward cream-colored stove from the 1930s had storage for pots and pans, lifting covers over the range, 4 gas burners, 2 wood burners, an oven/broiler, and a ledge above the stove with a spot for sugar, flour, salt, and pepper shakers.

Though the store failed, the vision remains in antiques such as the above.

Clarion

During 1880 through 1920, clarion antique stoves were found in parlors and sitting rooms around the US. They were smaller than a massive wood cook stove but delivered plenty of heat. A typical size was 28" wide, 25" deep and 45" high. Some were ornately decorated with brass and tiles to give a room a glow of sophistication. Since an urn on the top of the unit was the most prevalent, this part was often glorified with fancy trim.

By grabbing hold of the urn, you were able to lift off the top and load in more wood. This was much simpler than arranging wood in a fireplace where small and large pieces of wood had to be arranged and played with to get a good fire going. The heat from within the belly took care of whatever pieces were available to burn.

Sitting around the Clarion gave a clear view of the fire that was encased within the cast iron chamber. The heat would radiate throughout the metal and turn this stove into a burning hot furnace. Although you never wanted to touch the sides or top without some type of protection, a footrest provided pleasant heat for warming frozen feet in boots from being outside too long.

Wood and Bishop of Bangor, Maine was established in 1839 and were famous for providing Clarion stoves within the region and even shipping to other parts of the country. They also made a variety of other wood burning stoves that are antique collectables today and wonderful for any home.

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    • PiccadillyPunkin profile image

      PiccadillyPunkin 4 years ago

      you've got a ton of terrific info in here! you must really know your antique stoves! i have an old one that i'm trying to sell...any idea how to find out how much it's worth? internet searches haven't been helpful...do you have any ideas?